Following a diagnosis of tuberculosis in 1873, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau came to the Adirondack Mountains to convalesce. His time recuperating in the cold mountain air led to a remarkable recovery, and in 1876 he moved his family to Saranac Lake to devote himself to researching and treating the highly infectious disease, which took the lives of one in seven people in the 19th century.
Dr. Trudeau went on to promote the treatment and containment of the disease through exposure to fresh air, adequate rest, good food, and a positive attitude. The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium he established in 1884 in the Village of Saranac Lake treated thousands of underprivileged people afflicted with the disease. At the height of its success, the Sanatorium consisted of homes, over 50 buildings, a large main building, many patient and staff cottages, an infirmary, a workshop, a library, a laundry, a chapel, community rooms, and its own post office, Trudeau, N. Y.
Dr. Trudeau also established the first American laboratory solely dedicated to tuberculosis research. By the 1950s, with the introduction of antibiotic treatment, it was widely believed that the global scourge of tuberculosis had been defeated and that sanitariums had outlived their usefulness. The Trudeau Sanatorium closed its doors in 1954.
In 1956, Dr. Frank Trudeau, E.L. Trudeau’s grandson, closed his private medical practice to devote himself to guiding the transition from sanitarium to a research center devoted to the study of basic biological research. In 1960, the Trudeau Foundation board made an application with the U.S. Public Health Service for a construction grant towards building a new laboratory in Saranac Lake. Following approval of the grant late that year, local Edmond Guggenheim donated land for the new facility, and ground was broken on the laboratory shortly thereafter.
In 1964, with Frank Trudeau at its helm, the Trudeau Laboratory opened its doors for the first time. For the next half century, the mission of Trudeau Institute (as it would come to be known) would be to study the basic mechanisms by which the immune system combats infectious diseases, among them tuberculosis, influenza, cancer, opportunistic infections in the AIDS patient, plague, sepsis, and Lyme disease.
Throughout the years, the Institute’s vision was to find new ways to fight human disease and to identify mechanisms that would lead to the eradication of those diseases, including through the development of more-effective vaccines. During this period, Trudeau scientists were instrumental in establishing many of the basic tenets of cellular immunology and were among the first to define how the immune system remembers previous infections.
Today’s Trudeau Institute is led by Dr. Atsuo Kuki, an accomplished science and technology leader, and is committed to transforming medicine through the fostering of partnerships with world-caliber clinical research and pathogen experts.
Our Trudeau Research Network—comprised of highly-trained research teams who all study some aspect of infection and immunity across a variety of different pathogens—works closely with collaborators to bring translational science to life. Our studies focus not only on immune responses to major infectious diseases, such as TB, influenza, and Zika, but also on the role of the immune system in cancer, autoimmunity, and aging.
Trudeau 3.0 is the modernization of our commitment to global health, and we are now positioned to deliver life-changing medicine from our longtime home here in the Adirondacks.